Reports emanating from reliable sources in the middle belt region of Nigeria have it that agro stakeholders and yam farmers in Benue State presently have their farmlands fully prepared as they await the rainy season to kick-start cultivation of their yam seedlings.
The information was confirmed in Makurdi as a host of farmers revealed to the press numerous amounts of heaps on their large expanses of land, which they claimed had been prepared about six months ago as they remain optimistic waiting for the rain to commence planting on the lands.
Meanwhile, Yam farmers in the state have been expressing their high anticipations ahead of the forthcoming wet season as it can be vividly seen from this interview with a yam farmer in Gboko area of the state, who identified himself with the name ‘Tondo Matthew Kumbur’.
In an attempt to express his notion about the hassles of yam cultivation in the state, he confidently stated that his yam farm had been readily prepared from the beginning of the year, adding that he was only awaiting the rainy season as predicted by weather forecasters to be in the coming month of May, which will be the most suitable period to plant the yam seedlings.
“I have prepared the land. I will begin to plant my yam between from April 20. It is only those who don’t know much about farming that plant their yam early. Doing so could cause the seedlings to rot before the rains start. It is not advisable to plant it so early.
“If you plant early, the seedlings will go bad. But when the rainy season gets closer, a farmer can begin to plant and I’m looking at two weeks from now to start planting,” Kumbur said.
He further posited that there are also categories of yam farmers who practised one of the recommended agronomy activities of mulching the heaps, due to the fact that they planted early so as to retain moisture and avoid intensity of the heat from taking its toll on the yam.
Nevertheless, Teryima Iorlamen is the FUAM’s, Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi’s Seed Systems Principal Investigator has urged farmers not to waste time in cultivating their yam as soon as the rain stabilises during its season, stressing that sometimes, even when the first rain showers on the earth, the heat in the soil becomes excessive. However, when the rain stabilises with a more balanced temperature and favorable moisture content, it inturn aids better germination of the yam seeds.
Iorlamen, noted that, “some people plant their yam during dry season, that is between January and March. Also, the farmer who is planting at such period should be conscious of the sun, because the temperature would be high.